404 Errors: Do They Affect Your SEO?

What Is a 404 Error?

You’ve probably seen them when cruising the Internet; pages that don’t lead anywhere and display an error message of ‘404 Not Found.’ This can be discouraging, especially when it’s happening on your website! However, 404 errors are a completely natural part of the Internet.

Simply put, a 404 error occurs when a website server looks for a URL and does not find it. This can be caused by an accidental misspelling in the URL or when using an old link that no longer exists, so it would make sense that people occasionally see them.

 

Okay, But Do They Hurt My SEO?

If you’re lucky enough to show up in the top Google search results, the last thing you want is an error message interfering with your efforts. However, according to the often-cited article from Google, 404 errors are “a perfectly normal part of the web” and are one of the most recognizable errors on the Internet. Still, you may be thinking that any error, no matter how insignificant, will affect your SEO rankings, right? Well, not necessarily.

Since they are so prevalent, 404 errors themselves do not have a direct impact on your SEO status. Remember – Google has a vested interest in finding your content and sharing it online. It’s the foundation of their business. If Google penalized sites for every 404 error they came across, using their service would be a much different experience and it would be much harder to find what you were looking for.

 

SEO and Real Estate

When thinking of 404 errors and their impact on your SEO, it’s also important to consider the type of business you are marketing. Knowing what search queries mean the most on your site, and how you cater to those searches, will mean a world of difference to your rankings. Real estate SEO is interesting in that regard, since the market is constantly fluctuating. Listings come and go based on housing trends, and links to listings that worked fine last week might not exist anymore. In this regard, 404 errors are expected to occur frequently on real estate websites, it comes with the territory.

 

The Reality About SEO

Many sources exist that claim to know the secret to SEO and the ways that Google prioritizes and penalizes websites on their search engine. The fact of the matter is that there are no absolute truths about how Google handles their algorithms since it is constantly changing along with online trends. The Internet is constantly adapting based on how people use it, and staying on top of those trends will inevitably lead to better online success for your website. “Set it and forget it” is not a viable business strategy, and the same goes for your real estate site. Staying on top of your online presence can mean the difference between success and failure.

 

For more information about SEO and how it relates to your real estate site, check out our most recent webinar on the subject! You can also read more about how to increase your SEO rankings for your IDX Broker pages by reading this article from our knowledgebase. If you follow these steps, you will make it much easier for your customers to find your website online!

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